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The 1911 platform is perhaps one of the best performers out of the factory – and that holds true for the 1911 you proudly built at home, because your build relied on the same gold standards. With that said, there are some critical things you can do once you finish your build. These 3 best 1911 upgrades will transform that nice pistol of yours into a competition-ready 1911 that’ll rival a top shelf pistol from a big-name brand.
Best 1911 Upgrades: Grips and Mainsprings
The 1911 is a big gun, no question about it. Handling all that metal can feel cumbersome, and if you opted for a steel build over an aluminum frame, then you’re also dealing with some pretty decent heft. Investing in a set of perfectly molded grips is a great start. Even better, upgrading your mainspring housing to something with better ergonomics will make your home-built 1911 feel like a true extension of yourself.
Given the 1911 is a single-stacker, we’re partial to some nice Hogue or similar over-molded grips. These grips will add some girth and finger real estate to that relatively skinny mag well. An upgraded mainspring will do wonders, too. Minor serrations or even something with a more rounded profile will allow your magwell to rest in your palm with a natural grip.
Best 1911 Upgrades: Extended Mag Release
In keeping with the theme of addressing the 1911’s (very minor) flaws given its size, we recommend taking a look at an extended magazine release. Even if you keep your grips and mainspring housing standard, it can be a reach trying to get to that release. You want your 1911 to function with ease, not with a struggle.
An upgraded and extended magazine release will make mag changes and getting into the high-ready a breeze. They’re affordable and easy to swap out, requiring no tools. If you do decide to upgrade those skinny grips and basic mainspring housing, an extended mag release will only help you maneuver with your 1911 even more easily.
Best 1911 upgrades: Sights, Sights, and More Sights!
The 1911’s weight, trigger, big and heavy rounds, and long barrel make it a wonderfully accurate pistol out of the box. Whereas other guns need some upgrades to the barrel and trigger, you got cherry-pick your favorite barrel and trigger during your build process. Because of that, you can focus on how your eyes interface with your 1911.
There are so many sights available for the 1911, so we’ll categorize them:
Night Sights. These bad boys are a necessity if you plan on trusting your 1911 with your life. Most home-defense scenarios occur after the sun goes down, so a good set of glowing night sights is a must. The 1911’s night sights are simple in their mechanics, using two glowing rear dots and a single front glow dot at the end of the blade on the barrel. These night sights allow for quick target acquisition in poor lighting.
Fiber Optic Sights. These rely on a similar concept as night sights, providing quicker target acquisition by harnessing light to highlight your sight picture. Fiber optic sights are excellent in daylight because they capture UV rays and amplify your sight picture dramatically. A good pair of fiber optic sights can even help to capture what little light you might be working with at night.
Adjustable Rear Sight. Most 1911 slides feature a fixed or poorly-adjusting rear sight piece. This is no good for a full-size handgun that can easily hit paper at 100 yards. Even if you plan on keeping things simple, we strongly recommend investing in a fully adjustable rear sight – one with vertical and left-right adjustments is a huge bonus.